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How to Do Things with Affects

Affective Triggers in Aesthetic Forms and Cultural Practices

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Edited by Ernst van Alphen and Tomáš Jirsa

How to Do Things with Affects develops affect as a highly productive concept for both cultural analysis and the reading of aesthetic forms. Shifting the focus from individual experiences and the human interiority of personal emotions and feelings toward the agency of cultural objects, social arrangements, and aesthetic matter, the book examines how affects operate and are triggered by aesthetic forms, media events, and cultural practices. Transgressing disciplinary boundaries and emphasizing close reading, the collected essays explore manifold affective transmissions and resonances enacted by modernist literary works, contemporary visual arts, horror and documentary films, museum displays, and animated pornography, with a special focus on how they impact on political events, media strategies, and social situations.

Contributors: Ernst van Alphen, Mieke Bal, Maria Boletsi, Eugenie Brinkema, Pietro Conte, Anne Fleig, Bernd Herzogenrath, Tomáš Jirsa, Matthias Lüthjohann, Susanna Paasonen, Christina Riley, Jan Slaby, Eliza Steinbock, Christiane Voss.

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Marcel Danesi

Pop culture emerged in the first decades of the twentieth century as a reaction to the restrictive social traditions of colonial America. It spread quickly and broadly throughout the bustling urban centers of the 1920s—an era when it formed a partnership with technology and the business world. This coalition gave pop culture its identity, allowing it to thrive and form alliances with artistic and literary movements. But pop culture may have run its course with the rise of meme culture. This publication revisits the social, psychic, and aesthetic roots of pop culture, suggesting that meme culture has fragmented its historical flow, thus threatening to bring about its demise.

The Idea of Beauty in Italian Literature and Language

"Il buono amore è di bellezza disio"

Edited by Claudio Di Felice, Harald Hendrix and Philiep Bossier

Beauty is a central concept in the Italian cultural imagination throughout its history and in virtually all its manifestations. It particularly permeates the domains that have governed the construction of Italian identity: literature and language. The Idea of Beauty in Italian Literature and Language assesses this long tradition in a series of essays covering a wide chronological and thematic range, while crossing from historical linguistics to literary and cultural studies. It offers elements for reflection on cross-disciplinary approaches in the humanities, and demonstrates the power of beauty as a fundamental category beyond aesthetics.

Postcolonial Past & Present

Negotiating Literary and Cultural Geographies

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Edited by Anne Collett and Leigh Dale

In Postcolonial Past & Present twelve outstanding scholars of literature, history and visual arts look to those spaces Epeli Hau’ofa has insisted are full not empty, asking what it might mean to Indigenise culture. A new cultural politics demands new forms of making and interpretation that rethink and reroute existing cultural categories and geographies. These ‘makers’ include Mukunda Das, Janet Frame, Xavier Herbert, Tomson Highway, Claude McKay, Marie Munkara, Elsje van Keppel, Albert Wendt, Jane Whiteley and Alexis Wright. Case studies from Canada to the Caribbean, India to the Pacific, and Africa, analyse the productive ways that artists and intellectuals have made sense of turbulent local and global forces.

Contributors: Bill Ashcroft, Debnarayan Bandyopadhyay, Anne Brewster, Diana Brydon, Meeta Chatterjee—Padmanabhan, Anne Collett, Dorothy Jones, Kay Lawrence, Russell McDougall, Tekura Moeka’a, Tony Simões da Silva, Teresia Teaiwa, Albert Wendt, Lydia Wevers, Diana Wood Conroy

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Edited by Pepita Hesselberth, Janna Houwen, Esther Peeren and Ruby de Vos

Legibility in the Age of Signs and Machines offers a compelling reflection on what the notion of legibility entails in a machinic world in which any form of cultural expression – from literary texts, films, artworks and museum exhibits to archives, laws, computer programs and algorithms – necessarily partakes in ever-more complex processes of (mass) mediation. Divided over four clusters focusing on desire, justice, machine and heritage, the chapters in the volume explore what makes something legible or illegible to whom or, indeed, what; the kinds of reading, processing or navigating such il/legibility facilitates or forecloses; and the role critical (media) theory, literary studies and the Humanities in general can play in tackling these and related issues.

Contributors: Ernst van Alphen, Anke Bosma, Siebe Bluijs, Sean Cubitt, Colin Davis, Katrine Dirckinck-Holmfeld, David Gauthier, Giovanna Fossati, Isabel Capeloa Gil, Pepita Hesselberth, Yasco Horsman, Janna Houwen, Looi van Kessel, Esther Peeren, Seth Rogoff, Roxana Sarion, Frederik Tygstrup, Inge van de Ven, Ruby de Vos, Peter Verstraten, Tessa de Zeeuw

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Edited by Richard Shusterman

This collection of essays explores the crucial connections between aesthetic experience and the interdisciplinary field of somaesthetics, while further advancing inquiry in both. After the editor’s introduction and three articles examining philosophical accounts of embodiment and aesthetic experience in existentialism, phenomenology, hermeneutics, and pragmatism, the book’s nine remaining articles apply somaesthetic theory to the fine arts (including detailed studies of the body’s role in painting, sculpture, architecture, poetry, music, photography, and cinema) but also to diverse arts of living, considering such topics as cosmetics and sexual practice. These interdisciplinary, multicultural essays are written by a distinctively international group of experts, ranging from Asia (China and India) to Europe (Denmark, Finland, Hungary, and Italy) and the United States.

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Edited by Annie Ring, Henriette Steiner and Kristin Veel

Architecture and Control makes a collective critical intervention into the relationship between architecture, including virtual architectures, and practices of control since the turn of the twentieth to twenty-first centuries. Authors from the fields of architectural theory, literature, film and cultural studies come together here with visual artists to explore the contested sites at which, in the present day, attempts at gaining control give rise to architectures of control as well as the potential for architectures of resistance. Together, these contributions make clear how a variety of post-2000 architectures enable control to be established, all the while observing how certain architectures and infrastructures allow for alternative, progressive modes of control, and even modes of the unforeseen and the uncontrolled, to arise.

Contributors are: Pablo Bustinduy, Rafael Dernbach, Alexander R. Galloway, Hans Ulrich Gumbrecht, Maria Finn, Runa Johannessen, Natalie Koerner, Michael Krause, Samantha Martin-McAuliffe, Lorna Muir, Mikkel Bolt Rasmussen, Anne Elisabeth Sejten and Joey Whitfield

Art and Adaptability

Consciousness and Cognitive Culture

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Gregory F. Tague

Art and Adaptability argues for a co-evolution of theory of mind and material/art culture. The book covers relevant areas from great ape intelligence, hominin evolution, Stone Age tools, Paleolithic culture and art forms, to neurobiology. We use material and art objects, whether painting or sculpture, to modify our own and other people’s thoughts so as to affect behavior. We don’t just make judgments about mental states; we create objects about which we make judgments in which mental states are inherent. Moreover, we make judgments about these objects to facilitate how we explore the minds and feelings of others. The argument is that it’s not so much art because of theory of mind but art as theory of mind.

Subjects Barbarian, Monstrous, and Wild

Encounters in the Arts and Contemporary Politics

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Edited by Maria Boletsi and Tyler Sage

Subjects Barbarian, Monstrous, and Wild responds to a contemporary political climate in which historically invested figures of otherness—barbarians, savages, monsters—have become common discursive currency. Through questionable historical comparisons, politicians and journalists evoke barbaric or primitive forces threatening civilization in order to exacerbate the fear of others, diagnose civilizational decline, or feed nostalgic restorative projects. These evocations often demand that forms of oppression, discrimination, and violence be continued or renewed.
In this context, the collected essays explore the dispossessing effects of these figures but also their capacities for reimagining subjectivity, agency, and resistance to contemporary forms of power. Emphasizing intersections of the aesthetic and the political, these essays read canonical works alongside contemporary literature, film, art, music, and protest cultures. They interrogate the violent histories but also the subversive potentials of figures barbarous, monstrous, or wild, while illustrating the risks in affirmative resignifications or new mobilizations.

Contributors: Sophie van den Bergh, Maria Boletsi, Siebe Bluijs, Giulia Champion, Cui Chen, Tom Curran, Andries Hiskes, Tyler Sage, Cansu Soyupak, Ruby de Vos, Mareen Will

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Edited by Kishwar Rizvi

Affect, Emotion and Subjectivity in Early Modern Muslim Empires presents new approaches to Ottoman Safavid and Mughal art and culture. Taking artistic agency as a starting point, the authors consider the rise in status of architects, the self-fashioning of artists, the development of public spaces, as well as new literary genres that focus on the individual subject and his or her place in the world. They consider the issue of affect as performative and responsive to certain emotions and actions, thus allowing insights into the motivations behind the making and, in some cases, the destruction of works of art. The interconnected histories of Iran,Turkey and India thus highlight the urban and intellectual changes that defined the early modern period.

Contributors are: Sussan Babaie, Chanchal Dadlani, Jamal Elias, Emine Fetvaci, Christiane Gruber, Sylvia Hougteling, Kishwar Rizvi, Sunil Sharma, and Marianna Shreve Simpson.